I often hear bookophiles adamantly stating that they keep a book with them EVERYWHERE they go. And I totally get that. I mean, I definitely TRY to keep a book with me EVERYWHERE I go because obviously on those days when I don't have a book it's a time when one could have come in handy.
Along with this exclamation, it is usually followed with: "I read any time I get an opportunity. If I am stuck in line at the post office, I'll pull out a book and read it for the few minutes. Waiting at a stop light? I have a book." (Er, okay, so maybe the last statement is a bit too much). The obvious idea behind this is: I read every time I am not already engaged in another activity, EVEN IF it is sixty seconds.
I'm not pointing fingers. If this is you then more power to you. It's probably why I generally only read 100 books a year instead of 105. Because, realistically, those two to three minutes standing in line is not enough time for me to enjoy my reading. And isn't that what reading should be? An enjoyment? I mean we're not taking exams on these books, and outside of the ARCS and book tours there's usually not a deadline. (My college readers are in another category).
This has been on my mind more the past ten days and I'm sure well into the next ten days. Students will be coming back tomorrow. The two weeks leading up to this huge moment has been caa-ray-zee. There were days when I didn't know if I was coming or going, sleeping or standing, in meetings or just dreaming about them. My reading plummeted. Sure, I could have read those five minutes during our rotation break, but my head was swollen with information and my mouth needed to exercise since I had been quiet for four hours. - Texting of course does not exercise my mouth - .
I did start to read the first couple of days in bed before I fell asleep, but you wanna know what happened? i barely got through two pages before I fell asleep and then had to re-read what I read the day before because I was in a fugue and could not recall having read what I did.
This encouraged me to recognize that there are just some times in my life when I should not read. It is no longer enjoyment. Five minutes does not give me enough time to get into the book, bond with the characters, get transported into their world. Nope. It'd be like going to a concert and only hearing the refrain of your favorite song and then being swept away. Or, getting a huge slice of chocolate cake and only being able to lick the icing off of a fork before the waiter comes and takes the plate away.
I want to read when I can fully embrace the words. Ideally it would never be less than thirty minutes, but I am quite comfortable if during my rushed moments to pull out a book for only fifteen. I know that my world will settle down once I find the balance of Routine and until then I will not pressure myself to gobble up a book in five minute intervals.
Picture from this cool store.